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Forgery: Modus operandi (British History)
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Mick Harper
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The poor bloke will have to undergo an enormous battery of tests including a carbon date unless he's clutching an early medieval text. Then all tests, and indeed bets, are off.
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Mick Harper
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I am presently listening to Julian Barnes reading from his The Man in the Red Coat. Although he doesn't realise it, I think he is in the middle of a forgery scam. Unfortunately the talk is now off the list of things you can listen to but if anybody has the book or can get hold of it, let them sing out. (I can't 'cos they've closed the libraries and Barnes is too noble to be cheaply got from Amazon... da dah). Anyway the dramatis personae consists of these (so far, I'm only ten minutes in and there's an hour to go) and include a number of wrong 'uns. Plus enough right-ons to get our own book up and running. Get on it!

Henry James
Marcel Proust
Burne-Jones
William Morris
John Singer Sergeant
William de Morgan
Prince Edmond de Polignac
Count Robert de Montesquiou-Ferenszac
Stéphane Mallarmé
Dr Samuel Jean Pozzi

Liberty's
Chelsea bookshops
The Grosvenor Gallery
Royal Academy
National Portrait Gallery
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Mick Harper
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A Spanish archaeologist whose staggering discoveries included one of the earliest representations of the crucifixion and proof that the written Basque language was centuries older than previously thought has been found guilty of faking the finds. The discoveries were little short of miraculous: pieces of third-century pottery engraved with one of the first depictions of the crucified Christ, along with Egyptian hieroglyphics, and with Basque words that predated the earliest known written examples of the language by 600 years. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jun/11/spanish-archaeologist-sentenced-for-faking-basque-finds

We featured this hilarious case some little time ago since it has all the hallmarks of our own dear academics. "Ooh, just what we've been looking for, we're much older than anyone else." Our lot prefer Anglo-Saxons and they have to forgo the Egyptian stuff, though the Irish go in for it occasionally -- "It's from North Africa, you know." The English and the Irish are joined by the Welsh when it comes to mysterious objects with writing six hundred years earlier than anyone's got a right to.

The archaeologist and his two co-conspirators (one a geologist) were weighed off with what looked to be stiff prison sentences except the Guardian assured us they wouldn't have to go inside on account of Spain automatically suspending first-time custodials. Excellent! Not because I'm a Howard Leaguer but because it ought to have been the academic establishment whose feet shouldn't have touched for taking it seriously in the first place. As one of the crims said, "We were basically having a laugh."

Ethelbert's Law Code, the Book of Kells and the Lichfield Gospels are a good laugh too. Or would be if everybody would join in.
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Hatty
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What is it with linen shrouds?

The longest surviving text in Etruscan, an ancient language of Italy, was found inside an Egyptian sarcophagus, used as the wrappings of a mummy.

The text is known as the Linen Book of Zagreb, where it and the female mummy it once enclosed are now exhibited.

Has the linen been scientifcally dated? Has the ink? Has it ever

The linen itself may even date from the 4th century, though the inscription seems later, from between 200 and 150 BC, having been neatly written with expensive ink.

The very first mention of the mummy and its wrappings was in 1848 or 1849 when it was sold 'as a souvenir' to an Austrian-born Croatian tourist

In 1848, Mihajlo Barić (1791–1859), a low ranking Croatian official in the Hungarian Royal Chancellery, resigned his post and embarked upon a tour of several countries, including Egypt. While in Alexandria, he purchased a sarcophagus containing a female mummy, as a souvenir of his travels. Barić displayed the mummy at his home in Vienna, standing it upright in the corner of his sitting room. At some point he removed the linen wrappings and put them on display in a separate glass case, though it seems he had never noticed the inscriptions or their importance.

One might wonder how a mummy fares without the wrappings in a Viennese drawing room. But anyway, the inscriptions were only noticed in 1867 after the mummy, presumably now with its wrappings, was donated to Zagreb's archaeological museum which promptly entered it in their catalogue, noting the unknown/undeciphered writing. It was not until 1891, now back in Vienna, that the text was pronounced to be Etruscan

In 1891, the wrappings were transported to Vienna, where they were thoroughly examined by Jacob Krall, an expert on the Coptic language, who expected the writing to be either Coptic, Libyan or Carian. Krall was the first to identify the language as Etruscan and reassemble the strips. It was his work that established that the linen wrappings constituted a manuscript written in Etruscan.

It's not made clear how Krall established that the manuscript was written in Etruscan as he had nothing with which to compare it

Located at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, this is the only preserved copy of such a manuscript.
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Mick Harper
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Very droll. Especially the bit about taking the medium out after a coupla hundred years to write on it. Where have we heard that before? "Have we got any linen left, dear?" "No, go and rob a tomb." The dates may not be accidental

In 1848, Mihajlo Barić (1791–1859), a low ranking Croatian official in the Hungarian Royal Chancellery, resigned his post

1848 was the date of the first Hungarian Uprising against the Habsburgs and their dastardly policy of setting Magyars against Croats. In other words he was either sacked or fleeing for his life.

But anyway, the inscriptions were only noticed in 1867 after the mummy, presumably now with its wrappings, was donated to Zagreb's archaeological museum

The year of the 'Dual Monarchy' when Vienna (Habsburgs) agreed that Budapest (Magyars) could do what they liked with their Croats (Zagreb). In other words it was in a joblot carted off to the provinces.

In 1891, the wrappings were transported to Vienna, where they were thoroughly examined by Jacob Krall, an expert on the Coptic language, who expected the writing to be either Coptic, Libyan or Carian. Krall was the first to identify the language as Etruscan and reassemble the strips. It was his work that established that the linen wrappings constituted a manuscript written in Etruscan.

When you want your Etruscan translated, call in an expert on Coptic, Libyan and Carian.
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